Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cookbooks: Betty’s Best by Betty Rohde

In the steam-ahead 1990s, Betty Rohde gained her reputation writing low fat cookbooks for body conscious home chefs. Now, as the turbulent first decade of the 21st century head towards its close, Rohde delivers a book that is in some ways exactly opposite those low fat books, but that capture the cookbook zeitgeist just as precisely.

The back cover of Betty’s Best: Simple Comfort Food from Grandma’s Kitchen (Gibbs Smith) sums it up so finely, there is no mistaking the direction we’re being led: “Bake, fry, and roast your way to childhood dinners spent around the table with family.”

The subtext seems clear: Yes, there is a war on. Yes, we’ve never paid so much for gasoline. And, yes, people are losing their homes even while politicos prepare themselves for the ultimate dance. But look: Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole. Candied Sweet Potatoes. Chicken and Dumplings. Meatloaf. Pot Roast. Mock Apple Pie.

If you’re going to call it anything, call it what it is: American food that would be recognizable as such by almost anyone you served it to, anywhere in the world.

It seems to me that Betty’s Best is not without a message, quite beyond all the simple and easy-to-prepare food: the world may be going to hell in a hand basket, but comfort can be had right here.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home